COVID-19 shifted physician job market — Furloughs, pay cuts, competition & unemployment rampant

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the job market for physicians, and despite a looming shortage, doctors face furloughs, pay cuts, competition for jobs and unemployment, according to a Jan. 28 report from MDLinx.

In the early stages of the pandemic, about 1 in 5 physicians said they were furloughed or experienced a pay cut, according to an April 2020 Merritt Hawkins survey. A similar survey from McKinsey & Co. found that about 50 percent of responding physicians were worried about their practices closing, and nearly half of independent physicians said they only had enough money to continue operating for four weeks.

Merritt Hawkins said the pandemic has resulted in a record level of physicians seeking jobs, yet from March 2020 to July 2020, recruitment searches sank 30 percent.

Residents were the most affected by these changes, because more experienced physicians were willing to accept less pay. Merritt Hawkins said the shift in the market was "unprecedented" in its 32-year history.

However, despite the shift, demand is expected to increase once the pandemic begins to subside.

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